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Sunday, May 26, 2024
The Observer

Words, words, words

A Letter to the Editor published on Feb. 7 highlighted some of the percolating frustrations among the student body concerning vaccine and booster mandates. This was a refreshing opinion piece, because while I see these same frustrations being talked about on the national level, rarely have I seen students willing or able to discuss them from a campus perspective. The author of the piece, however, made some claims that appear to be factually incorrect. Namely, it seems clear from the scientific literature that COVID-19 vaccines do, in fact, reduce virus transmission in highly communal settings (like: dorms) and do result in less severe symptomatic presentations in highly vaccinated populations. And when the author mentioned a possible “negative efficacy” resulting from vaccines, well, it’s anybody’s guess as to what that means. But the investigative, questioning spirit of the article remains legitimate. I, too, am concerned about whether these vaccine mandates are the right course of action for our campus community. Because while there have been demonstrated positive results of the vaccine and booster policy, I worry about the questions we’re not asking. I worry about vaccine injuries and side effects, international reports of which have ranged from debilitating to even fatal; I worry about informed consent, which seems to be a fading notion; I worry about the unclear, long-term implications of these treatments; I worry about our friends and neighbors and relatives who are sick, who have died, who are scared; I worry about a world that previously felt so stable, and which now seems so vulnerable; I worry about all this worrying, knowing that we all have to live our lives again, at some point — ideally without fear. If you share some of these worries, go ahead and read the popular press, scientific journals, online forums and even the official CDC literature in an effort to find comfort. If you’re like me, all you’ll find are a bunch of words — some of them fancy-sounding — that say little or nothing of value. It seems that the anxiety, frustration and ever-widening political and ideological divide among Americans has resulted in most of us being unable and unwilling to converse openly about matters that have been deemed ‘settled’ on a mainstream level. But I’m suggesting a cooler, more pragmatic approach to life, especially in times of crisis. If you’re reading this: be open to dialogue, ask questions and remember that you can disagree with someone and still be their friend … probably.  

Nicholas A. Furnari

M.S. in Management ’22

Feb. 7

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.